Kaare Kyle Andrews is the creative force behind the new Iron Fist: The Living Weapon comic book series, which he both writes and illustrates single-handedly. An amazing accomplishment in itself, what’s just as great about it is how well written and illustrated it is, with obvious love and care. That Andrews is both the writer and illustrator for the book means we get a very tight, singular creative vision that I’ve never been so happy to see. Andrews is clearly a big fan of the character and knows Danny Rand’s history well as we can see from what he chooses to pick up and run with, what to leave behind, and what to reincorporate in a different way into the series.
Andrews’ Danny Rand is haunted by a childhood that left him with a lifetime of traumas that he’s never had to deal with. The traumas catch up with him right from the first issue of the series, and this first volume (collecting issues #1 through #6) delves right into his past coming back to haunt him in both the very literal sense of having cyber ninjas crashing into his penthouse and less literally with the memories that are dredged up throughout the series. The classic Roy Thomas origin story is still here in all its brutality and familiar faces like Davos and the Prince of Orphans also make appearances. Watching Andrews’ world building is a treat; you never know how characters are going to fit into the puzzle of the Living Weapon’s history.
Andrews’ panel layout is superbly done and he draws the eye around the page like a pro. The colors do wonders for his pencils and inks and I am constantly amazed at how well he handles everything on his own. The style he brings to the series is entirely unique, but I think any comic fan is going to spot influences in some of the panels they love from some of the legends. I’m reminded of Bill Watterson one minute and Frank Miller the next and don’t want Andrews to stop anytime soon. The world burning he does in the first few issues and the world building we only start to see by the end is more than enough to bring me back for more despite this first arc taking its time to complete ideas first encountered in the first issue. As the world expands and gets more and more Big Trouble in Little China-like, I can’t help but anticipate where the story and characters are going.